HEA Master’s Program Assessment

In ELA, the HEA master’s comprehensive exam assesses students’ mastery of course concepts and leadership theories as they apply to their experiences in the final internship class. The Higher Education Administration (HEA) assessment results for the master’s degree are illustrated below with two tables.

The results displayed in HEA Table 1 provide a “big picture” look at annual assessment results across five years. Average performance, as measured by final exam scores, has improved from our 2010 baseline year. Using a rubric with a scale of 0-2 (score of 0 indicates “does not meet expectations,” a score of 1 indicates “meets expectations,” and a score of 2 indicates “exceeds expectations”) each of the 11 competencies are scored. Each exam is evaluated independently by two faculty members. The minimum passing score is 11 out of a possible 22 points.  An average score is then calculated for each exam.  The department reviews the most recent results each year. We then target a competency that we feel students can improve upon and implement one or more new strategies into our teaching and coursework. The goal of this continuous improvement cycle is to help us better prepare our students with the knowledge and skills needed to be successful leaders in higher education.

Importantly, the results from the outcome assessment also show us specifically where students are struggling so that the faculty members can identify actions we can take in order to address the areas of weakness in students’ performance.

The faculty are happy to report that students are, on average, achieving a passing score on the exam as illustrated in Table 1. However, when average scores on each competency are evaluated, we know we still have work to do to improve our program (see HEA Table 2).

As an example, In Table 2, you can see the four year average of scores for each competency. We have seen that students earn lower scores on the criterion specific to data usage. One outcome of our program is to have students use data to understand and change organizational practices.

Faculty have added data-focused assignments to required courses as one intervention to increase student knowledge, and we have seen an increase in scores on criteria related to data. The scores are still lower than other areas, so faculty will continue to make changes in coursework to help students master this competency. Exam results from this fall 2015 semester will give us information about how effective our past year’s interventions have been.